Indian-American Bera clings to thin lead in congressional race

By Arun Kumar (IANS) | Published on Fri, Nov 9 2012 11:18 IST | 0 Views | Add comment
Washington, Nov 9

Ami Bera, a Los Angeles-born physician son of Indian immigrants, is tantalisingly close to making history as the third Indian-American to be elected to the US Congress.

Running for the second time for California's 7th Congressional District around Sacramento, Bera is ahead by a razor-thin 184 votes against Republican incumbent Dan Lungren, with 88,406 votes to Lungren's 88,222. But Lungren is not conceding.

With the race too close to call Bera's fate, who received a boost with an endorsement from former president Bill Clinton, hangs on "tens of thousands of absentee and provisional ballots" that are still being counted. It may also involve a recount or a challenge.

"Although we do not know our race's final results, we feel confident going into the next several days," said Bera, anticipating a long wait.

If he wins, Bera will only the third Indian-American elected to the House of Representatives after Dalip Singh Saund in 1952 and current Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal in 2004.

Meanwhile, five other Indian-Americans lost out in their Congressional bids.

Fellow Californian Ranjit "Ricky" Gill, the lone Republican who barely qualified to run for Congress by turning 25 just before elections, conceded defeat after a terrific fight.

Gill polled around 46 percent votes to 54 percent by his rival three-time Democratic incumbent Democrat Jerry McNerney in the ninth congressional district.

Another Californian, Democrat Jack Uppal failed to overcome Republican incumbent Tom McClintock in the race to represent California's fourth congressional district.

Bihar-born, Democrat Syed Taj lost to Republican Kerry Bentevolio, polling nearly 44 percent votes to his rival's 51 percent in Michigan's 11th congressional district.

He had stepped down from his post on the Canton, Michigan, Board of Trustees and as Chief of Medicine at Oakwood Hospital in Dearborn in March 2012, in order to concentrate on his campaign.

Democrat Manan Trivedi, a physician and Iraq War veteran, failed to unseat Republican Jim Gerlach, who has held Pennsylvania 6th Congressional district since 2003.

Trivedi was born and raised in Fleetwood, Pennsylvania, and attended Boston University for college and medical school.

In New Jersey, Upendra Chivukula also failed to unseat the Republican incumbent Leonard Lance in the state's redrawn seventh district.

Chivukula, who was the first Indian American to win a seat in the State General Assembly and has represented the 17th Legislative District since 2002, polled nearly 40 percent votes.

Even as they lost, the credible runs by as many as six Indian-Americans on the road to Washington, heralds the entry of the community in politics in a big way.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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